Climate Crisis: Our Principles for Action

Today the University has committed to bold climate crisis action.

 

We have developed seven principles which will guide our action towards a low carbon future, including a target of net-zero by 2030 and investment withdrawal from fossil fuel extractors.

Read the whole article on the main University page:
http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/4471/university_commits_to_bold_climate_crisis_action

Student Architects 2018/19: Final Project Blogs

Our 2018/19 Student Sustainability Architects have come to the end of their year with us. In their posts below, they give an overview of what their projects have achieved as well as some insights on what they have gained from their time with us.

If you are interested in applying to be a Student Sustainability Architect in 2019/20, please visit sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/student-sustainability-architects to find out more.

Katy

Since October I’ve worked with Great Food at Leeds as a Student Sustainability Architect, delivering a campaign aimed at reducing staff and student meat consumption in the Refectory. For a number of years I’ve had a personal interest in how individual food choices can affect the planet, especially with regard to meat consumption, so being able to run a project focussed around something I am so passionate about has been great.

Undertaking some survey research with a team   of volunteers in the Refectory outlined the customer demand for a move towards more plant-based meals also. Therefore, I have spent my time since these results promoting the exciting meat-free options that the Refectory already offered, as well as lobbying for the introduction of more vegetarian options. This culminated in Great Food at Leeds’ contribution to the university’s 2019 Healthy Week in June, where plant-based eating was the main focus area. Approximately one-third of the meals sold during Healthy Week were vegan, which was a huge success! I hope that next year’s promotion is as successful as this year’s.

I’ve learnt a lot during my time in this position. Although running a project with little experience was initially daunting, the experience has been invaluable. As someone who wants to work in sustainability in the future, it’s been great not only planning and overseeing my own sustainability project but also getting a deeper insight into the work that the Sustainability Service do more widely. Additionally, conducting a small sustainability project within a large organisation has been really useful for me to understand the challenges facing the implementation of sustainability projects. Despite the steep learning curve and challenges along the way, I believe that my experience in this role will help me progress in my future career in the environmental sector. I’m so grateful for the opportunity and hope that the Refectory’s focus on meat reduction continues far beyond my time in Leeds!

Lulu

My time as a Sustainability Architect has been a journey. Not only has this role reaffirmed my passion for sustainability but it has provided me with more personal goals for the future. The journey began with big ideas to transform the way students took part in and engaged in sustainability. I wanted to further my knowledge of delivering sustainable projects and supporting sustainable goals.

I had previously said in my first blog post as Sustainability Architect ‘I hope I can encourage others to engage with sustainability projects, discussions and aim for it to make a personal contribution to your life’. This goal still holds true today and my role this year has helped me realise some of the goals I set out in the beginning. I have been able to engage students in discussions about sustainability and offer further insight and information in the process.  Over my term as the student citizenship architect, I have aimed to further the conversation of plastics to fellow students through a film screening, student-led discussion panel and podcast. I have also helped the wonderful sustainability services team in their pursuit to tackle student consumption waste and waste in the local area through various activities this year.

I have gained an incredible insight into what it takes to plan and develop goals into reality. The time and effort it takes to hopefully make a change however big or small. Sustainability to me goes beyond what I study and my personal interests. It is a topic that affects all areas of life, even more so now than ever. My role has allowed me to make some contribution to the dialogue of discussion needed and it is my aim to continue to do so. The University of Leeds Sustainability Service – particularly Amanda have truly helped me shape my journey with vision and more knowledge.

I wish all future Sustainability Architects the best of luck and hope they enjoy the experience as much as I have done.

Nicola

This year I have been privileged to work as one of the Student Sustainability Architects working with the Halls of Residence. My main projects have included setting up food waste recycling in flats at Devonshire Hall and organising two British Heart Foundation (BHF) pop-up shops at the University to encourage students to shop more sustainably (i.e. from charity shops).

I also had the opportunity to take over the University of Leeds Instagram account for a week as everyone was moving out of their accommodation at the end of the year. The main messages were about donating your unwanted items to charity as well as a few top tips on how to make moving out easier. This was a daunting experience, to begin with but also a fantastic opportunity to relay some really important messages to a large audience and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience (once I’d got used to being on camera).

If you’re coming (or coming back) to Leeds in September, on the 30th September the British Heart Foundation will be holding a massive pop-up shop outside the Union building. Buying from charity shops not only raises money for that charity but it is also a much more sustainable (and cheaper!) way of getting all the things that you need for your time at University. Please come along!

Working with the Sustainability Service has been a fantastic experience and I have gained a lot of experience that will no doubt help me in my future career. I am also leaving with a renewed enthusiasm to pursue a career in sustainability. I would like to thank everyone in both sustainability and residential services for this opportunity and for their support. I would strongly encourage anyone wanting to work in sustainability to consider applying to be a Student Sustainability Architect during their time in Leeds.

Rory

During my year as the Blueprint Architect, we have seen some incredible achievements with the launch of Blueprint, Leeds’s new sustainability engagement scheme, taking place in October. We signed up over 30 schools and services to commit to their 5-year Sustainability plan and currently have 7 teams live with their Blueprint’s fully functional. The journey of seeing these teams brought onboard as pilots to trial the scheme, to the point we are at now, with another 7 teams ready for sign off by heads of the department has been a fantastic experience. The reach of Blueprint since its launch is a testament to its’ success which we have had reiterated to us in the positive feedback from talking to teams while carrying out workshops and scoping sessions.

As part of my role we have created a tailormade Sustainability scheme which can be implemented across the whole University, the work I have done with teams developing the consultation process and design of the Blueprint has been particularly satisfying to see the advancements in methods and results of our new programme. The future is bright for Blueprint and we can look forward to bringing on board and running productive workshops with more schools and services to unite the university on joint Sustainability projects.

One of the things I have been involved with this year is aligning the Blueprint scheme with the University’s Sustainability strategy. This has been an opportunity to align the sustainability work of the individual department’s around University to our long term plan in Sustainability. The Blueprint process has also been made into a full team effort, we wrote the Blueprint manual over the course of the year which explains exactly how we carry out the process as well as all the findings and actions we have created from the trial and error over the course of our Blueprint pilots and more recent Blueprints.

The experience has been a long road of learning from mistakes on how to run workshops, how to score impacts and opportunities and interact with teams to maximize our time and benefit to departments. It’s been a pleasure to see through the work which I began, to the point of it being fully operational and functioning. Blueprint has been time-consuming, had ups and downs and been stressful, but most of all I am proud of the work I have contributed to the current project and excited to see where it takes us as a department and the potential for the sector within Sustainability to create bespoke Sustainability planning. It’s a pleasure to sign off from the University after two fantastic years knowing we have created a fabulous new engagement scheme and in the knowledge, my contributions have helped shape what Blueprint has become. Over and out.

Dave

Well, that was quick! It seems like the other day when I was writing a blog at the start of my time as a Student Sustainability Architect and now I am reflecting back over the year.

I joined the team just before the announcement of the university’s pledge to become single-use plastic-free. This was an incredibly ambitious commitment as I soon came to realise. I had two primary tasks over the course of the year – to find out what (and how much) single-use plastic there was on campus, and to discover success stories of people or places that have already introduced initiatives to reduce single-use plastic.

I found that the university uses an incredible amount of single-use plastic – laboratories alone bought over 1 million items from just one of our three main suppliers – but there has already been some amazing work done to eliminate this plastic with the Stage@Leeds becoming single-use plastic-free and 180,000 disposable coffee cups saved through the implementation of the KeepCup system.

This role not only allowed me to help in the fight against unnecessary single-use plastic, it also opened up many more experiences and opportunities. I was lucky enough to present some of my research at the Sustainability Conference, I had access to additional seminars on a variety of professional skills, I took part in climate workshops, and I happily embarrassed myself in an Instagram Live Interview! The range of experiences and development opportunities available was amazing and very enjoyable.

Last but by no means least, I want to thank all of the sustainability team – and particularly my great supervisors Thom and Lucy – for all their support and enthusiasm (and letting me steal their desks). It was amazing to meet a group of people so committed to making the university a better place. Thank you too to Kelly for helping all the Architects throughout the year and good luck to all those Architects for next year!

Chloe

My year as a Sustainability Architect has flown by! I have thoroughly enjoyed it and have both seen a lot behind the scenes in the Sustainability Department of the University, and learnt a lot about how biodiversity is approached when looking at developments on the campus and in the residences.

Over the course of the year, I have surveyed eight of the University’s residential sites- Ellerslie Global Residence, Back of Cromer Terrace, Henry Price Halls, Charles Morris Halls, Lupton Halls, Devonshire Halls, Springfield Mount Residences and Lyddon Hall. These are all very different- from the very traditional grounds of Devonshire which have strong historical links, to the large open courtyard of Lupton, to the individual gardens of Springfield Mount and the small areas of grass around Lyddon. It was interesting and enjoyable to walk around the sites with a base map and mark on the areas of each different habitat I could find.

After converting the data into a digital map, I inputted this information into the Biodiversity Tool, which produces a value for biodiversity for each site. This is an arbitrary number which reflects the size and range of habitats on the site, as well as how good for biodiversity the different habitats are. This is really useful, as if developments take place at the site, it can be resurveyed and a new value calculated, which will allow developers to see if they have met the same standard of biodiversity as previously. Excitingly for me, three of the residential sites had their grounds improved, allowing me to compare the biodiversity values before and after. For each of the sites, the value greatly improved, which proved to me that biodiversity is a key consideration when developments take place at the university.

Using the information I had gathered, I produced Biodiversity Action Plans for each site, which give goals and targets for the sustainability and residential services to take into account in years to come. Suggestions I have put forward for the sites range from conducting an insect survey to building some wetland areas.

This project has improved my ability to identify different species of plants a great deal, as well as being able to categorise habitat types and recognise which ones are particularly beneficial for wildlife. It has been interesting to see biodiversity through the eyes of many different stakeholders, and better understand the challenges that are faced when developing the grounds of the University with biodiversity in mind. I would thoroughly recommend anybody takes the opportunity to be a student architect, as it is a brilliant way to meet new people and do something completely different!

 

Work Experience Blog: Fred

 

Hi everyone,

My name is Fred and I currently attend Beckfoot School. This year, we were offered the chance to go out on work experience at a place of our choice just before we break up for the summer holidays. Luckily, I was accepted by the Leeds university sustainability team. For the next week I will get to understand what they do in order to make sure the university is as sustainable as possible.

On my first day here, the first thing I got the chance to see was the bike hub set up all around the university campus. I learned that while here, it is cheap and easy to hire out or lock up bikes within the vicinity of your work place. Also, if you have any problems and need help fixing your bike, then there is a workshop in the afternoon three times per week where Romain, a member of the sustainability team, will be able to talk you through the procedure of how to replace or repair parts of your bike or fix it for you. I got the chance to help out with repairing some of these bikes and really enjoyed learning how to do it. I now know how to replace a tyre, check for a puncture, and repair faulty breaks.

On my second day, I went to a conference lead by Yorkshire Water. At this conference I got to learn bits about the six capitals (financial, natural, manufacturing, social and relationship, human and intellectual) and how businesses, like Yorkshire Water, have to decide how to implement these into the way that they run their business. I found this experience very interesting because I had the chance to see what happened at these kinds of events and meet some of the people who attend them. I also had the chance to research the kind of activities that went on due to the work put into the living lab.

On day 3 of my work experience, I had the chance to look through the SDG’s that the sustainability team have to think about when they are planning any projects. The SDG’s are basically goals that the university has to try and meet set up by the UN. The sustainability team will then provide evidence of where they have reached each of these goals which are expected of them. I had to set up the template for them to then input all of the evidence that they had acquired over the year where it will then be ranked against all of the other universities that have signed up to this.

Later on, I got to go and look around the garden to see what had been planted by the students, I also got to hear about what was planned to happen with the garden later on in the year. I enjoyed this because I got to see what some of the university students did in their free time.

On my fourth day of work experience, I began the day by talking to some of the sustainability team about what they had done in their careers so far. I found out about some of the courses they had taken at university and what jobs they had done prior to joining the sustainability team. I found this very useful because it gave me an idea of some of the opportunities I will have when I go into work. I also got some tips from them about what to look for in a job and what to think about when I am picking a course to do at university.

I also had the chance to learn about the student sustainability conference from last year, which had been put on by the sustainability team in order for them to learn about the sustainability of the world or show off any presentations about research they had done recently. They also get to listen to a talk by someone famous on sustainability. My job was to think of any ways I thought that they could improve this conference or anything that I thought they could add to it.

On my final day here with the sustainability team, I joined some of them while they had an introduction to the “team” app this morning. I really enjoyed this as it was a lot of fun trying out all of the different things you could do on it and gave me a chance to see what kind of things the people working at the university use.

In the afternoon I had to answer some questions on what a new university student starting here would want to know about and look for before they start here. There were also some questions on what the student would want to know about sustainability before joining. This was interesting for me because it made me think about what I would want to know about a university before choosing it.

Overall, I have really enjoyed my time here with the sustainability team and would like to thank them for the experiences I have had here with them and how they have helped me along with all of the tasks I have done here, especially Kelly Forster for organising all of this for me and letting me come along.

 

 

Celebrating Sustainability at Leeds

Leeds has won an award for embedding a collaborative approach to sustainability across all aspects of the University curriculum.

At the International Sustainable Campus Network (ISCN) conference earlier this month in São Paulo, Brazil, the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum, led by the University’s Sustainability Service, received the Whole Systems Approach Award.

The award recognises sustainable campus projects that have excelled at integrating sustainability into the culture, education, research and operations right across the University’s Schools and services.

The ISCN is an association of more than 80 colleges and universities from more than 30 countries, which aims to support the global higher education sector as a leader in sustainability.

Dr Louise Ellis, Sustainability Director at Leeds, said: “Winning this award is a reflection of the hard work of a number of different people across the University, including staff from research, teaching and professional services.

“Working in collaboration has been the key to our success. Our approach to the curriculum reflects the wider University approach to sustainability – looking at the whole picture rather than individual projects.”

Victoria Smith, interim Executive Director of the ISCN, said: “It was so affirming and inspiring to see the quality of submissions we received.

“The award winners demonstrate outstanding leadership for sustainability in higher education and we are thrilled to showcase their work and highlight the global importance of their contributions.”

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum aims to embed sustainability into all undergraduate and postgraduate courses. This includes offering over 130 modules as part of its Creating Sustainable Futures Discovery Theme. The modules allow students from all disciplines to explore the environmental, social, cultural and economic issues facing society, looking at how they can be tackled from a local and global level.

The Leeds Sustainable Curriculum is intrinsically linked to the Living Lab programme, bringing together students, academic and operational staff to research sustainable solutions to real-world challenges using the University campus as a test bed.

The improved Roger Stevens Pond at the University of Leeds

One of the Living Lab’s recent success stories includes the refurbishment of the Roger Stevens Pond (pictured, above). In autumn 2018, the Living Lab brought Estates Services together with academics and students from the Schools of Biological Sciences, Geography and Civil Engineering to create a space for teaching and research.

The University of Leeds Sustainability Service has exciting plans to develop the Leeds Sustainable Curriculum even further next year. Keep up to date with its progress along with other staff and student opportunities here.

Further information

  • For additional information, please contact University of Leeds Media Relations Manager Anna Harrison via a.harrison@leeds.ac.uk or +44(0)113 34 34196.
  • The ISCN provides a global forum for universities pursuing sustainability across their educational and research missions, and operations. ISCN Members commit to sustainability principles according to the ISCN Sustainable Campus Charter. Founded in 2007, the ISCN features international awards, conferences, and working groups to promote best practice exchange. More information on the ISCN and its Members can be found at http://www.international-sustainable-campus-network.org/

Sustainability Awards 2019 – Results!

Last night the University hosted the Annual Sustainability Awards 2019 to celebrate the incredible work our staff and students do to create positive change across campus and further afield. Our staff and students have helped us create a university that embeds sustainability through knowledge, engagement, collaboration and innovation.

There are eight awards categories; each covering a different aspect of the broad spectrum of Sustainability at the University of Leeds. The first four awards are based on the themes from our Sustainability Strategy . We then have the Sustainable Purchasing Award and, new this year, the Single Out Award given to those going above and beyond to support the #2023PlasticFree Pledge. The final two awards are our student-only awards. Below we have congratulated our winners alongside their award.

Embedding Sustainability through Collaboration

Winner: James Hamilton

Runner up: The Public Engagement with Research Team for Be Curious

Runner up: Jonathan Busch for his work with the Climate Workshops and establishing the Discovering Sustainability journal.

This award recognises staff or students who have shared skills, ideas or resources across the campus to ensure sustainable practices and values are embedded into the culture of university. James  won due to his hard work educating his colleagues in engaging lunchtime sessions, making sure sustainability training is on all job descriptions and introducing glass milk bottles to the office.

The Building Knowledge and Capacity

Winner: The Priestley Centre

Runner up: Kashmir Kaur for her Language in Context – Sustainability Module

Runner up: James McKay for his dedication to teaching colleagues and school children about sustainability

This is awarded when a project or initiative is focussed on educating staff or students on sustainability, using campus as a Living Lab and sharing expertise across campus or the local area. The Priestley Centre stood out, by teaming up with 3 other northern universities to take Climate Chats out into public spaces in Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and York during Green Great Britain Week. They translated science into art, music and poetry to engage with the public and their rising concern about climate change. Furthermore, climate researchers were rapidly mobilised to attend the Youth Strikes for Climate Action to answer the striking school children’s questions – Ask a climate researcher.

Being a Positive Partner in Society

Winner: Sustainability Into Schools

Runner up: Save a Life Team for their working teaching staff and students basic lifesaving skills

Runner up: Alex Bamji, Viktor Doychinov and Alistair Hay from Health for their volunteering work giving academic support for young people from disadvantaged children.

This award recognises people who have made Leeds a happier and better place to work and live. The winner was the Sustainability into Schools programme which increases awareness of sustainability issues in primary schools across Leeds and gives pupils the tools and knowledge to live more sustainable lifestyles.

Making the Most of Resources

Winner: Roger Stevens Living Lab Team

Runner up: Residential Services for their work recycling and donating mattresses.

Runner up: Daniel Preston for his work teaching colleagues about low-waste lifestyles and hosting lunchtime litterpicks

The final award from the Sustainability Strategy’s themes is Making the Most of Resources. This celebrates staff and students that have implemented policies, ideas or encouraged behaviour changes to ensure efficient and effective resources management. A campus favourite, the Roger Stevens Pond, won. An exemplary living lab example, this has brought together academics and grounds staff to build a biodiversity haven on a concrete Grade II listed building in the city. Already used by ducks and fish, we look forward to seeing what will be attracted there in the future.

Sustainable Purchasing Award

Winner: Charles Morris Hall

Runner up: Antony Wilkinson for his research into replacing washing machines with more sustainable alternatives

The Sustainable Purchasing Award congratulates someone who has encouraged best practice and innovation in University purchasing. Charles Morris Hall installed a Purex system, which cleans water without chemicals, removing 86% of chemical previously used on site.

Single Out Award

Winner: Alumni Team

Runner up: stage@leeds for making their bar completely single-use plastic free

Runner up: Richard Jones from Devonshire Hall Kitchen for his work removing single-use plastics

The Alumni Team claimed this award for their intuitive efforts, getting involved with the Sustainability Services to replace the plastic envelope with paper, saving over 900kg of single use plastic per quarter.

The Student Co-curricular Award

Winner: Ruth Trainor

Runner-up: Ryan Higlett, for his extensive involvement with Sustainability into Schools.

This award highlights stand out student-led non-curricular work which has had a positive impact across the campus or Leeds community. Ruth Trainor won due to her organisation of Sustainability Week, hosting talks, events and presentations involving stakeholders from the University and beyond.

The Student Curricular Award

Winner: Hazel Mooney

Runner up: Jonathan Teasdale for his impressive presentation about sustainable fashion at the Student Sustainability Research Conference

This award can include any original work at the University of Leeds that has taken place this year. Hazel Mooney took this award for her dissertation, researching the intrinsic value of trees in urban areas. Jonathan Teasdale was awarded runner up for his presentation at the Student Sustainability Research Conference, highlighting the waste created in fashion and designing a waste-free clothes pattern.

Blueprint Awards

Furthermore, this academic year has been the first for the new staff engagement scheme Blueprint. We were excited to award 16 teams with either ‘Working Towards’ or ‘Explorer’ for their work. The Sustainability Service works with teams to scope out their potential impacts and opportunities in order to produce an action-plan bespoke to their team. To get your School or Service signed up please contact Sustainability@leeds.ac.uk

 

We would like to thank Bright Beginnings for their exquisite table decorations, made from reused materials. We’re incredibly grateful for the time staff voluntarily take to create these awe inspiring sculptures, to meet our demanding brief. We would also like to thank Catering Services for the delicious vegan food they provided.

 

 

Colour Hyde Park – Photography Competition

Colour Hyde Park is our brand-new, collaborative mural project!

We are working with Leeds Inspired, Leeds City Council, Leeds Beckett University and local artists to create six community murals celebrating the natural beauty and diversity of Hyde Park and our community. Our mural artists have come from many different backgrounds across Hyde Park and their incredible work strongly reflects the spirit of our community.

We are looking for a keen photographer to help us document this great project. You will be photographing the murals through mid-late June and our launch party on July 25th. The material produced will be used on our website and social media communications as well as a Mural Map we are creating.

To enter for the chance to photograph the project, and to win £200 worth of kit or a voucher of your choice, please send up to 6 photos of your own previous work to r.l.flett@leeds.ac.uk.

The deadline for all submissions is midnight 16th June . For any further questions please email r.l.flett@leeds.ac.uk.

Moving Out Checklist

End of year can be a hectic time for students. Exam season has ended and already you need to pack up your things and move on to a new house or depart Leeds for good. Before your thoughts turn to taking time off, having a holiday and seeing family, take a little time to prepare for your move and save yourself some money and hassle in the process!

To help take the stress and hassle out of moving out we’ve created a handy moving out checklist. It includes tips on where to find your nearest glass recycling, where you can donate your unwanted stuff and last minute things to consider before you hand back your keys.

1. Leave Leeds Tidy 

Consider donating your unwanted stuff instead of throwing it away. Drop off any unwanted at one of the end of year collections running in residencies, the local community and campus.  You can drop off any furniture, clothes, kitchen goods, electricals, non-perishable food and anything else that you no longer need! Follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on collections near you (#ASmoothMove) or check the Moving Out map http://bit.ly/MovingOutMap

2. Dispose of your rubbish properly!

Did you know that every year, over 70 truckloads of waste is produced on changeover day alone?! And a lot of this can end up littering the streets and gardens which also means your landlord can charge you for extra cleaning. Take care of the environment (and your wallet) and make sure your housemates stagger your rubbish disposal times so bins don’t overflow. Use the Leeds Bin App here to find out what should be put in each bin!

3. Recycle your empties

Been hoarding glass in your garden with the intention of recycling it?   Put those good intentions in to practice and take your glass to your nearest bottle bank. (No you can’t put them in your green bin!) Download the Leeds Bins app to find your nearest. https://datamillnorth.org/products/leeds-bins/

4. Leave only empty cupboards behind

Check if you need to buy any more food.  Use up what you have stored away in the cupboards and freezer before buying any more. If you have any food leftover at the end of year, call around to your neighbours and see if they would like it or drop off any none perishable food at one of the city’s collection points. See the Moving Out map for details of where you can find your nearest. http://bit.ly/MovingOutMap

5. Who does all this stuff belong to?

Starting to regret not having done any cleaning this year? To have any chance of getting your deposit back it’s time for everyone to muck in and get things sorted.  Work out a plan with your housemates how you will divide up the tasks, sort out who owns what and clean communal areas.  That includes your garden and outside spaces!  It’s a good idea to agree a day that you can all get together and clean up before everyone starts disappearing.

6. Make some extra cash for the summer

Sell your unwanted textbooks, clothes, electricals and media and get some extra cash for the summer. See our Living in Leeds Guide for more information. http://sustainability.leeds.ac.uk/being-a-positive-partner-in-society/your-community/

7. Take meter readings

A few weeks before you move out, contact the utility companies and let them know that you will be closing the account soon. On your final day take your meter readings, inform the companies to close your account and give them a forwarding address to send the bill. Do keep a record of the meter readings. Once paid, make sure you send proof to the landlord/agent. 

8. Protect your ID

Shred any documentation with your personal details on it. Identity thieves are known to go looking through bins as well as looking for any opportunistic open doors and windows to help themselves to your laptop.  It’s also not a good idea to store all of your possessions in a car overnight as it will get broken in to!

9. Get out and see Leeds 

It’s not too late to take advantage of your free time in Leeds to go to one of city’s many great summer festivals and attractions. Looking for ideas on what you can do? Check out the following link which lists what’s going on! https://confidentials.com/leeds/things-to-do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Parkinson Peregrines

Have you seen the peregrine news on our social media? Want to know more about the history of our Parkinson Peregrines? Below is a blog post from Paul Wheatley (@leedsbirder). Paul is a local birder, University of Leeds graduate and volunteer Ranger for the RSPB.

In 2018 a pair of Peregrines successfully nested and raised 3 young falcons from their lofty nesting ledge near the top of the Parkinson Tower. These incredible apex predators raised a family and delighted keen birders and those new to the world of ornithology alike.

What made the difference in this first time breeding success? A simple wooden tray filled with gravel, installed by the University of Leeds Sustainability Services. If eggs are laid on bare stone they can roll around making them difficult to keep together to incubate properly. On a gravel surface, breeding success for urban Peregrines is dramatically improved. Once the Peregrines found the tray, it was game on!

Two males and a female hatched from the eggs and were reared by the adults. In July, they fledged the nest and learned to hunt and survive for themselves. So what happened next? Life can be hard for juvenile Peregrines and only one in three typically survive their first year.

The juveniles began to wander from the University quite soon after fledging, and sightings from further afield became more frequent. All three were ringed in the nest, and with a good view it’s possible to identify them from the code on their colour rings. Most notable was an amazing view of one of the young birds who was filmed on a window ledge high up on the Pinnacle tower block in Leeds city centre (https://twitter.com/MattBigface/status/1030549797365796871)

Over the winter, we received good news from Peregrine watchers in Morley who sighted our juvenile male, ringed as TAC, on the Town Hall. Our friends at Wakefield Peregrines have already identified the building as an ideal Peregrine nesting site and have placed a nesting tray there. So with luck TAC might just find a mate and start a family only a few miles from where he was born! A juvenile male Peregrine (identified by his small size compared to a female) was seen on the Parkinson tower on a few occasions over the winter, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible to make out the code on the colour ring – this could have been TAC or possibly his brother TBC.

Taking flight from LeedsBirder on Vimeo. The three youngsters (TAC, T7B and TBC) during the 48 hours after they fledged the nest.

As is usual our two adults were seen less frequently through the winter months, and were sometimes sighted hanging out in the city centre. As the breeding season got closer however, the birds became much more active around the Parkinson building. They were seen performing acrobatic display flights and began visiting the nesting tray to make a “scrape” where their eggs would ultimately be laid. Another indication of the pair bonding was the Tiercel (male) offering up a small plucked bird to the Falcon as a gift.

3rd egg laid from LeedsBirder on Vimeo. Footage from the nest camera, showing the female laying the third egg at 07:46:51 (42 seconds in to the video).

This year the Leeds Uni birds were ahead of their fellow Yorkshire urban Peregrines, after laying eggs nearly a month behind most other Peregrines last year. In 2019 laid their first egg on the 18th March, beating Wakefield, Sheffield and York Peregrines to it! Three more eggs followed, each spaced out by a couple of days. The birds started to incubate from the third and penultimate egg – typical behaviour for Peregrines.

Leeds Peregrines during egg laying week from LeedsBirder on Vimeo.

Both birds usually remained close to the nesting ledge during the week the eggs were laid, departing only briefly to hunt for food. This was a great time to watch the Peregrines, and see them interacting with other raptors in the area. Passing Sparrowhawks were carefully observed by the Peregrines, but were otherwise left alone. A buzzard was ignored. A wandering Red Kite was quickly intercepted by the Tiercel and mercilessly mobbed, or dive bombed, before beating a hasty retreat.

Other Peregrines were also frequently seen around this time, sometimes drawing the Leeds birds into the air. The interlopers may well have been looking for a mate. Our Leeds adults appear to be the same birds that have been in residence of a few years now, but neither are ringed so it’s difficult to tell for sure.

All four eggs have now hatched, as of April 28th. The parents take turns on the nest while the other hunts for food. On May 14th the University of Leeds Sustainability Services worked with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to weigh and ring the four chicks.  All are healthy weights between 550g and 725g. The whole process was completed quickly and all four chicks were safely returned to the nest. We are expecting to see them fledge between the 29th May and 3rd June so keep your eyes peeled!

If you’re interested in Peregrine data, a brilliant Dutch project has collected information from hundreds of Peregrines nests around the world (https://sites.google.com/site/nestkalenders/home/slechtvalken).

 

Last year, myself and keen University birder Les (@uolperegrine), organised some guided walks to help locals see the fledged Peregrines and raise money for raptor conservation charities. We’re hoping to do the same this year, so watch out for news on this in early June. The walks will be advertised at short notice when the birds fledge.

Keep watching the NestCam, check out @uolperegrine (https://twitter.com/UoLperegrine) for the latest news, and please let us know your sightings around campus (and further afield) by including @leedsbirder, @uolperegrine and @uol_sus in your tweets.

 

Paul Wheatley @leedsbirder (https://twitter.com/leedsbirder) Paul is a local birder, University of Leeds graduate and volunteer Ranger for the RSPB.

Living in a plastic World: Do We Need a Revolution?

This event was created and geared towards starting a conversation about the problems created by plastic. The University of Leeds in conjunction with Leeds University Union have pledged to become single use plastic free by 2023. Therefore, this event was set to be a conversation starter that could gather students’ views on the matter of plastic especially in their daily live and on campus.

The event kicked of with an award-winning documentary film: A Plastic Ocean. This film delved into the consequences of our over-use and overproduction of plastic. It covered the environmental impact as well as the health and social implications of our consumption of plastic.

Key Points:

  • The relevancy of plastic in our lives and whether it would be possible to cut it out completely
  • We discussed various alternatives to single use plastic and how you as an individual can make a change.
  • The issues of microfibres and using science to tackle the issues of plastics were also discussed in this segment.
  • Simple and actionable steps to help you on your way reduce your plastic consumption.
  • Ways to gain more information about the plastic waste issues.
  • Ways to make a difference in your local community and university campus.

The panel

The wonderful panel consisted of 6 students all from different backgrounds. They were all chosen due to their diverse interests in the realm of environmental issues to further diversify the responses and feedback through our discussion.

Giulia – A postgraduate student in the School of Earth and Environment studying Sustainability & Business and a Student Rep.

Mary – A Biology Postgraduate Student interested in reducing plastic waste in the Laboratories on Campus

Maddie – Postgraduate Student in School of Earth and Environment studying Sustainability and Business. Member of People & Planet Society.

Charlie – Postgraduate Student in the School of Earth and Environment studying Environment & Development. Runs a Plastic Free online supermarket called Life Before Plastik.

David – A Postgraduate Student studying Climate Change & Environmental Policy in the school of Earth and Environment. He is also a Student Sustainability Architect for Plastics, helping the university work towards the #2023 plastic free pledge.

The panel was hosted by Lulu Kariba the Student Sustainability Architect for Student Citizenship.  

You can find the podcast and show notes of this event below.

Transcript PDF

Sustainability Internships 2019/20 Open Now!

Are you excited about trying out new ideas and making a positive difference? Would you like to join a dynamic and committed team and gain valuable experience, by supporting projects which drive sustainability within the University and the wider community?

We are looking for two student interns to join our team in September 2019, supporting our work in delivering key projects to embed sustainability across the University. This is a unique opportunity to work within a large institution at an exciting time of change, where sustainability plays a key strategic role. For example, we have recently launched major Institutional projects such as #2023PlasticFree which will require collaboration across the University and beyond. You will gain insights into how to implement and embed sustainability into a complex institution, develop contacts throughout the University and have an opportunity to influence change on many levels.

Want to know more about our internship opportunity? Below is more info from our current interns; Rosie and Caitlin.

Rosie – Sustainability Engagement Intern

I’ve spent the last 8 months getting involved with many different aspects of Sustainability across the University; from the #2023PlasticFree pledge to student citizenship programmes. One of my focuses this year was on the Sustainability and Community Newsletters, I helped the team move to a new system and worked to improve the readership of the newsletters. I was also given the chance to develop my own project and created “Colour Hyde Park” – Community Mural Project. This was the perfect chance for me to develop my project management skills and creativity whilst giving back to the community and supporting local artists. I’ve also had opportunities to work with other stakeholders like local councillors and other Universities, including UCL. This internship is flexible and there are always opportunities to jump into. Recently I’ve been given the responsibility of creating a slide deck about the SDGs that will be shown at a global campus security network meeting!

Caitlin – Sustainability Intern

This internship has taught me a lot for future jobs; having never worked in an office before this was a great stepping stone from University to work life. My main focus this year has been the staff engagement scheme, Blueprint, giving me a “behind the scenes” view of how the University is run. Blueprint has also helped me see real, measurable change on campus and as an intern it’s great to make an impact! Another responsibility of mine is organising the Sustainability Awards. Having ownership of such a big project provides a huge learning curve for my organisation skills and creativity! Within the team there’s a strong attitude towards constant learning and improvement, giving me many chances to do extra training such as Equality courses and Excel workbooks. The whole team is friendly and happy to help with any queries, however small and silly (how does the printer work..?).

This year we are recruiting two Sustainability Interns from our undergraduate community to join the team for 11 months and support projects that deliver the University’s ambitious Sustainability Strategy. Our Interns will be proactive and creative in supporting key areas of focus such as staff and student engagement, plastic-free initiatives, event coordination, and embedding sustainability into the University curriculum. It’s a great opportunity to be working on sustainability in a large, complex organisation at an exciting time for significant change and influence.

Apply now! https://jobs.leeds.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=FDSUS1017  

Deadline: 28th May 2019